Banksy booby-traps his "girl with balloon" painting to self-destruct after a phone bidder pays £1.04 million for it.
For an artist that's known for his stunts, this could be Banksy's most flawless art world prank.
"Girl with Balloon", one of Banksy's best-known works, disappeared into a shredder hidden in its frame as the hammer fell at £1,042,000 pounds (€1.2 million), a sum that matched the artist's previous record sale, auction house Sotheby's said.
If a work is damaged while in the care of an auction house, a buyer would not normally be expected to go through with the purchase.
Just after the painting was sold, the piece "self-destructed" and was shredded through what is thought to have been a remotely activated mechanism in the frame.
"It appears we just got Banksy-ed", said Alex Branczik, head of contemporary European art at Sotheby's. "It's certainly the first piece to be spontaneously shredded as an auction ends".
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He said that in response, Beijing is using its power "to interfere in the domestic policies of this country and to interfere in the politics of the United States".
Banksy shared an image of the artwork being shredded on Instagram and captioned it "going, going, gone".
In a statement, the auctioneers Sotheby's said they were in discussions with the purchaser of the destroyed artwork, who they described as "surprised".
Banksy is a Bristol-born artist whose true identity - despite rampant speculation - has never been officially revealed.
Prior to its shredding, the framed "Girl with Balloon" - spray paint and acrylic on canvas mounted on board - depicted a girl reaching out toward a bright red, heart-shaped balloon.
He came to prominence through a series of graffiti pieces that appeared on buildings across the country, marked by deeply satirical undertones.
Girl With Balloon originally appeared on a wall in Great Eastern Street, London.